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Colorado Rockies player profile: David Dahl

Drew Creasman Avatar
July 17, 2016

 

It has been a good July for Colorado Rockies outfield prospect, and 2012 first-round draft pick, David Dahl. After a strong showing in Double-A in the offense-unfriendly Eastern League, Dahl was promoted to the incredibly offense-friendly PCL, joining the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes.

And he hasn’t looked back.

In nine games, Dahl is hitting .526 with five home runs, three doubles, a triple, 13 RBI and 10 runs scored.  He had 13 home runs for the Hartford Yard Goats before getting called up, bringing his season total in 85 games thus far to 18. His previous career-high was 14 in 2014.

With performance like that – and the general fact that this has been predictable for a while now – Dahl isn’t too far from making his Major League debut. So, let’s get to know him a little better.

Offense:

Dahl has always had a solid contact tool and has most often been described as having gap-to-gap power, though clearly, that tool seems to be coming along nicely. His struggles have been in the very common area of identifying and then laying off good off-speed pitches when down in the count. He’s always been an aggressive hitter who – like oftentimes teammate and friend Raimel Tapia – doesn’t walk much, but doesn’t strike out much either. His career high until this season in walk percentage was 6.9 percent in 2012 with Grand Junction, his first year as a pro.

But during that 76-game stretch to begin this 2016 season, Dahl raised his walk rate to 11.7 percent. Increased awareness of the zone and dedication to being deliberate and disciplined often go hand in hand with increasing the number of pitches you get to drive and that seems to be working for Dahl.

Credit: Matt, Kartozian, USA TODAY
Credit: Matt, Kartozian, USA TODAY

It has always been said that if Dahl’s approach could match his tools, he could be an All-Star and he is now showing that potential at the highest level of the minors. Naturally, he needs a much more significant sample size but the power surge and increased walk rate were precisely what the Rockies were hoping to see from him this season.

Defense:

David Dahl has been ready to step onto a Major League diamond, from a defensive standpoint, since the moment he was drafted. OK, that is a bit of hyperbole. A bit. He has good natural instincts and easy elite level speed matched with an all-out attitude. His arms are just as good as his legs and lately, have been even better. A season of throwing guys out became a national story when Dahl gunned down a runner trying to score at the recent Futures Game in San Diego.

No outfielder takes a perfect route every time and Dahl is no exception but he has all the characteristics anyone could hope for in a guy who will eventually be tasked with roaming the vast expanse at Coors Field.

Speed:

In addition to playing well in the outfield, Dahl has stolen over 20 bases in each of the full seasons he has played so far in his pro career. He sits at 16 so far in 2016 but  has not yet swiped a bag since being promoted. A little like his friend Trevor Story at the big league level, Dahl has slugged at a high rate this season and so has found himself standing on first base a little less often.

Intangibles:

Credit: Caitlin Rice, BSN Denver
Credit: Caitlin Rice, BSN Denver

This guy is a natural leader who is respected by all of his teammates and leads by example with an extraordinary work ethic.  He fully owned up to a gaffe early in his career that saw him sustain a short suspension for missing a team flight and has since become the defacto captain of the Rockies next wave of prospects. This was never more evident than in his 2014 season when he returned to Asheville after being promoted to Modesto to lead a team featuring Raimel Tapia, Ryan McMahon, and more to a SAL Championship.

You don’t have to get excited. But you probably should.

 

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